Sustainable Agriculture

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Uses for Amaranthus spp. (Waterhemp/Marestail)

Fellow Agronomists,

I was chatting with a corn farmer in Montana looking for advice. He has a rather persistent ‘weed’ issue of Amaranthus species (Waterhemp/Marestail) in his fields.

I went out on a limb and told him he could try to find a market for it. It is edible.

I found the following in a quick search of edible plant databases for all amaranthus species like waterhemp/marestail: Young leaves are very rich in iron, a good source of vitamins A and C. They are eaten raw or cooked as a spinach and have a mild flavor so are often mixed with stronger flavored leaves. Seed – raw or cooked. Ground into a powder and used as a cereal substitute, it can also be sprouted and added to salads. The seed is very small, about 1mm in diameter, but easy to harvest and very nutritious. The flavor is greatly improved by roasting the seed before grinding it. It is often added to cornmeal. The whole plant can also be used as a dye.

Of course he might need to reconsider some of his (now roundup based) pest management strategies if he wants to access the wild foods market.

Might be worth it though.

Here is a poem about one of these ‘weed’ species.

Amaranthus caudatus

by Cory Childs

Why does attention so fondly take hold
whenever new moonflower buds
on lonely land cleared of the last’s marigolds
that long masqueraded as love?

Will arum give way to hydrangea?
Will heartsease yield lavender’s bite?
I cling to mad dreams of hibiscus
conceived in the moonflower’s light.


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10th ENOAS meeting in Czech Republic August 21-28, 2011

10th ENOAS meeting in Czech Republic August 21-28, 2011

Are you student? Are you young enthusiast of organic? Join us to visit organic farms, businesses and organisations, as well as nature sites in Czech Republic. Come to Czech Republic to exchange with other young organic enthusiasts as well as with organic producers and local experts.

A fun, informative experience awaits you.

See attached draft program.

Participation fee only 150 Euros for a full week of activities with young organic individuals.

Registration open till July 25 at

More information

IFOAM EU and ENOAS also announce their other planned student activity for this year:

Student seminar in Lyon, October 20-21(23) More information at:

Please, share this information with your young people and students who could be interested to join.

ENOAS – The European Network of Organic Agriculture Students:

  • It is a network created by organic students for organic students
  • Wants to enable students from different European countries studying organic agriculture or having an interest in it, to get in contact with each other
  • Wants to promote organic agriculture as a valid alternative
  • Organizes every summer a meeting, somewhere in Europe, where we meet, visit and discuss: the ENOAS Summer Meeting.

Our first focus in on Europe, however we have a world-wide interest.


Phone: +32 2 280 11 51


Facebook: IFOAM EU Group

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Rue du Commerce 124

1000 Brussels


The IFOAM EU Group is the European working level within the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements. It brings together more than 300 organisations, associations and enterprises from all EU-27, EFTA and candidate countries. IFOAM´s goal is the worldwide adoption of ecologically, socially and economically sound systems that are based on the principles of Organic Agriculture.

Read more:


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autonomous space

Every year, the squatted autonomous social centre “Espace autogéré des Tanneries”
( in Dijon, France, puts up a collective building-session to
allow people to take part in extending the place by fixing it, building
it, carried some new crazy projects and spending a good time with a
bunch of people in an anti-authoritarian atmosphere and collective
self-managed fashion.

This year, the squat may be under
the threat of a new eviction procedure, so it’s definitely a good time
to come and join the people in shaping perspectives for keeping this
autonomous space alive, a way or another.

I’ll post a more detailed invite later on, but those of you reading french can refer to the following link
to get most of the info already:

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Witzenhausen Summer fest on Friday 15th of July

Witzenhausen Summer Fest will happen at the end of this week – This is the biggest fest that Uni-Witzenhausen.

There will be a live bands, cocktail bar, international food court and a DJ. It starts at 6 pm on Friday 15th with the graduation ceremony and will continue till the morning.

Hope to see all of you at Steinstr.
Everybody is welcome.
summer party eng.pdf

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IFOAM EU Press Release: Freedom of choice on GMOs finds broad support in EU Parliament

Press Release

International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements – EU Regional Group

Freedom of choice on GMOs finds broad support in EU Parliament

Commission and Council must now step forward in their role to strengthen the right for GMO free food

Brussels, 05/07/2011 – Today the European Parliament adopted its opinion on the possibility for Member States to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of GMOs in their territory. The IFOAM EU Group welcomes MEPs’ support for a change of EU legislation that would finally oblige all member states to take appropriate measures to avoid the unintended presence of GMOs in other products and to establish liability systems that would ensure that the polluter has to pay in cases of GMO contamination.

“The European Parliament strongly supported today the right of member states and EU citizens to stay GMO free,”states Marco Schlüter, Director of the IFOAM EU Group1. “This is a great step in the right direction. EU citizens and the whole food chain from plant breeders to farmers and retailers need a solid legal framework that guarantees them their right to opt for GMO free feed and food. This right is threatened by GMO contamination: Cases of GMO commingling in GMO-free products have already cost millions, till now mostly paid by farmers, food industry and taxpayers2. This problem must be addressed in all member states. Therefore the Council must now overcome its standstill on this issue and support the MEPs’ initiative to make measures that prevent GMO contamination, as well as clear liability rules, EU wide compulsory.”

“We also welcome that the European Parliament vote provides member states with a strengthened list of grounds and legal certainty to restrict or ban the cultivation of GMOs which strengthens the possibility to protect food production and environment in whole regions,” adds policy coordinator Antje Kölling. ”But despite the positive outcome of the vote, we must not forget that many other questions related to GMO in food, feed and on the fields finally need to be resolved. The IFOAM EU Group calls for a moratorium3 on GMO cultivation and GMO approvals as long as the EU legal framework dealing with GMOs does not guarantee the full protection of environment, human health, animal health and the economic viability of the GMO-free food and feed sector.”

More information:

IFOAM EU Group, phone + 32-2-280 12 23, Fax: +32-2-735 73 81,